The fight to reduce drunk driving
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The campaign to cut down on drunk driving may have to start in local bars and restaurants.
Some establishments are serving too much alcohol to customers, and by doing that, they could be breaking the law.
In California, and many other states, it is against the law to serve more alcohol to someone who is obviously drunk. But in a lot of places, that law is not being strictly enforced, and one national expert says it is time to change that.
Investigators say a deadly crash in Lomas Santa Fe was likely caused by a driver who was high on drugs and alcohol. The passenger in the SUV was killed.
A national expert on alcohol abuse says preventing more crashes requires a stronger strategy than just saying “don’t drink and drive”.
He says bars and restaurants also have to stop over-serving customers.
Many of the drivers arrested for DUI in San Diego County had their last drink in a bar or a restaurant. According to a survey, of those drivers, the number was more than 41%.
Research scientist James Fell says any establishment that serves liquor should require specialized training for bartenders and servers. That would include learning about state and local laws and what to do when someone is clearly too drunk to drive.
At Players Sports Bar in Clairemont, owner Ted Semprini says all his servers have to go through that training.
Researcher James Fell says there has to be a second component too, enforcement.
To make sure restaurants and bars do not over-serve, James Fell says cities need to conduct regular checks with undercover investigators.
Bar owner Ted Semprini thinks that may be taking the enforcement track too far.
Wendy Hanna thinks those businesses have an obligation not only just to their customers, but to other people on the road.
She is even taken matters in her own hands, by making a special trip to a bar that served too many drinks to a friend.
Some might call that woman a good friend, but as the community searches for solutions to DUI crashes and other alcohol related violence, one can urge law enforcement agencies and public officials to really get tough on these service laws.